Appliance of Science

With 31 students from seven Kerry secondary schools taking part in this year's BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, the future is bright for our young innovators. Stephen Fernane profiles the local entries...

Displaying details of their ‘Rewire the rules’ project are (from left) Clara Hanrahan, Kayla Hannon and Niamh O’Carroll from Tarbert Comprehensive
Displaying details of their ‘Rewire the rules’ project are (from left) Clara Hanrahan, Kayla Hannon and Niamh O’Carroll from Tarbert Comprehensive

Thirty-one students representing 7 secondary schools in Kerry will put their creative projects on display at this year's BT Young Scientists & Technology Exhibition which takes place at the RDS in Dublin starting today (Wednesday) until January 13.

The formation of this year's projects consists of six individual and 10 group projects, covering a cross-section of different categories such as Social and Behavioural Sciences, Chemical, Physical & Mathematical Sciences, Biology & Ecology, and Technology.

The students are said to be excited over the prospect of a trip to Dublin where the culmination of many months of preparation and researching their ideas comes to a head in what is a huge source of pride for the students, their families and their schools.

Killorglin Community College (KCC) have four entrants this year. Student Cian Lynch assesses the impact daily routines have on exam results; Chloe Nagle's 'Organo Chew' is a natural method for breaking down pesky chewing gum on street pavements; Lily Eyers' 'Rear Guard' is an advanced safety warning for cyclists based on the reversing senses used in cars which have been adapted and integrated to suit bicycles, while Timothy McGrath demonstrates ways to purify Vibrio Cholera infected water in third world countries.

Donal O'Reilly is Deputy Principal of KCC and he expressed the school's pride. "We're proud and it's become an annual event for us now as we've attended exhibitions for the last 4 years. This is an award in itself as only 10 percent of applicants make it through to the finals. The students are looking forward to it," Donal said.

At Tralee CBS 'The Green' students Kian Trant, Seamus Knightly and Conor Crowley will showcase a project entitled: 'Blind and Elderly Assistance Project - artificial intelligence for the blind' which explores the use of coding and smart technology in helping to improve the quality of life for visually impaired people.

Mercy Mounthawk, Tralee also has four projects this year with Ella Itsede's statistical analysis on the negative attitudes towards the Papilloma Virus Vaccine (Ella has had support from Dr Tom Farrelly in ITT and she was granted access to a survey instrument previously only used in the US). Olivia Moriarty and Tamila Khussainova investigate the teaching and learning of Junior Cycle physics and the promotion of STEM subjects to girls; the development of an antimicrobial smartphone screen protector is the project of Robin Porter, while Ciara Murphy and Jessica Oke Cotter examine the knowledge young adults have today about homelessness.

Tarbert Comprehensive School (TCS) will head to Dublin with two projects as Rachel O'Connor and Roisin Moran present 'Unknown Jobs for Dogs'. This is about spreading awareness on assistance dogs and the life changing support they provide for people with disabilities. The school's second project is 'Life Saving Sensor' by Clara Hanrahan, Niamh O'Carroll and Kayla Hannon. The girls have created a mobile phone device for cars aimed at improving road safety. "The students are very proud to be representing their school and their county and this event is extremely good in terms of developing the overall educational experience of students," said TCS teacher, Gerard Nash.

St Brendan's College in Killarney is represented by Colm Looney, Darragh Fleming and Ethan O'Neill who examine the risk of deer collisions on roads using a combination of resources aimed at locating 'Smart Signage' in areas where deer are sighted in high numbers. Also representing St Brendan's is Harry and James Knovleuch and Oran O'Donoghue who have studied 'conformity' and the ways in which minorities influence it.

Staying in Killarney where a group from St Brigid's Secondary School - Eimear Beasley, Caoimhe O'Connor and Kate Lynch-O'Doherty - explore the technological world and its life changing effects.

Meanwhile, Tríona Uí Mhaolchatha of Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí, Tralee. expressed the school's delight at bringing two projects to the exhibition. Aindriú Muimhneacháin and Seán Ó Loinsigh have a project on the resistance to antibiotics in agriculture, while Leah Ní Sheanacháin and Cian Ó Muireagáin's project compares properties of a cube and a tetrahedron.

"These students have put in a lot of work and have given up their time. They're very in-depth projects and it's a great opportunity for them," Tríona said.